Shipping group urges improved waterways

The Mandalay Shipping Association has spoken out against high taxes, supposedly charged for the restoration and conservation of waterways, that they say haven’t brought any improvements so far.

The chair of the association told The Myanmar Times that the only work done on local waterways has been for show, and has been a waste of money.

“I want to know how much money they used for river conservation from the regional and Union budgets and which mechanism they used,” said U Mya Maung, the deputy chair of the association.

“Our association has more than 100 ships on the river, so we know if they really did [restoration work] or not.”

The shipping association has suggested improvements along rocky parts of the river between Bagan and Mandalay, and between Mandalay and Myinmu in Sagaing Region, should be prioritised, because they are used most frequently.

U Mya Maung also expressed concerns about the amount of taxes levied.

“The tax we have been paying is K38 per tonne per mile. The actual tax rate should be K17 [per tonne per mile]. If they would really work for development and conservation [of the river], we are happy to pay,” said U Kyaw Win, the association’s chair.

The shipping tax was introduced in April 2015, under a by-law of the Conservation of Water Resources and Rivers Law.

U Mya Maung said proper guidelines on taxation should be followed and that he hopes the new government will act on the association’s suggestions.

“We already distributed law books on river management and have asked our members for ideas. We will submit these to the new government,” he said.

An estimated 400 ships – 300 from Yangon and 100 from Mandalay – mostly carrying construction materials, coal and oil transport goods between the two cities.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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